(March 6) Note: What I discussed in a paragraph near the bottom of the full piece here, namely the ‘sore loser” laws, are indeed essentially a barrier to ballot access for Nikki Haley. The arguments in favor of an independent candidate, though, remain just as strong.

For the rest of 2024, Nikki Haley should ditch the Republican label.

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

As the former South Carolina governor exited the race for the Republican presidential nomination, she quite explicitly declined to endorse former President Donald Trump. She was right to decline. Trump is unfit for the presidency in multiple ways. Two-thirds of voters “want someone new,” other than Trump or President Joe Biden, in the race for president. Haley should give those two-thirds of voters a real option.

Haley ought to make herself available to be the candidate of the No Labels movement, and No Labels should move expeditiously to select her — or, if she won’t do it, then it should pick former Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney or someone else sane, competent, principled, and mentally sharp….

The No Labels group is avowedly centrist, but almost all of its actual policy preferences either lean, or are broadly acceptable, to thoughtful conservatives. And for the first and probably only time, No Labels intends to choose a presidential candidate. The organization has spent months securing ballot access across the country, with the not-impossible goal of getting its candidate eligible in all 50 states and a high likelihood of doing so in at least 35 or so.

There is no reason an attractive, well-funded independent (or “third-party”) candidate can’t win this year. Far more people, 42% (and as many as 47% just seven months ago), consider themselves political independents than Democrats (30%) or Republicans (28%). With both Trump and Biden so unpopular and so many independent voters, this is a far more fertile situation for an outside contender than it was in 1992 when independent Ross Perot moved to a considerable polling lead above both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton before bizarrely withdrawing from the race for two full months. Even after Perot’s truly strange behavior, he secured 19% of the vote once he stumbled back into the race….. [Again, the full column, including a paragraph explaining the anti-‘sore-loser’ laws, is here.]

 

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